How to Automatically Create Meta Description from Your Content

Snippets by IsItWP

Too lazy to add meta description to your articles? Then, why not automatically generate a meta description from your WordPress post by striping out all shortcodes and tags? Here’s how to do it.


Add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin. Make sure you have in the header.php of your wordpress theme or this snippet will not work.

function create_meta_desc() {
    global $post;

if (!is_single()) { return; }

    $meta = strip_tags($post->post_content);
    $meta = strip_shortcodes($post->post_content);
    $meta = str_replace(array("\n", "\r", "\t"), ' ', $meta);
    $meta = substr($meta, 0, 125);

    echo "<meta name='description' content='$meta' />";

add_action('wp_head', 'create_meta_desc');

Note: If this is your first time adding code snippets in WordPress, then please refer to our guide on how to properly copy / paste code snippets in WordPress, so you don’t accidentally break your site.

If you liked this code snippet, please consider checking out our other articles on the site like: Best WordPress Page Builders (Compared).

Comments   Leave a Reply

  1. As already mentioned (no clue why the author is not updating his mistake) strip/replace this code part: $meta = strip_shortcodes($post->post_content); with just: $meta = strip_shortcodes($meta); else it has no sence and is incorrect and looks terrible on google!

  2. BloodyGoodGames May 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Wow,. that broke my site. As soon as you put it in the header you get an error code so it doesn’t work. Too bad as it’s exactly what I needed 🙁

    1. what is the error you get?

    2. substr() will create invalid UTF-8. Use mb_substr() instead

      // add meta description tag
      function wcs_add_meta_description_tag() {
      global $post;
      if ( is_single() ) {
      $meta = strip_tags( $post->post_content );
      $meta = strip_shortcodes( $post->post_content );
      $meta = str_replace( array(“\n”, “\r”, “\t”), ‘ ‘, $meta );
      $meta = mb_substr( $meta, 0, 125, ‘utf8’ );
      echo ” . “\n”;
      add_action( ‘wp_head’, ‘wcs_add_meta_description_tag’ , 2 );

  3. Would you think possible to take H2 content from a post, limit the numbers of characters or word, and copy it into the description by default? Thanks!

  4. Sorry Pal, but here’s a correction on this algorithm:

    function create_meta_desc() {
    global $post;
    if (!is_single()) { return; }
    $meta = strip_tags($post->post_content);
    $meta = strip_shortcodes($meta); /* here you have to use the same variable, or else the strip_tags will not have any effect */
    $meta = str_replace(array(“n”, “r”, “t”), ‘ ‘, $meta);
    $meta = substr($meta, 0, 125);
    echo “”;
    add_action(‘wp_head’, ‘create_meta_desc’);

  5. 29 Wordpress Tweaks to Improve Posts and Pages October 19, 2011 at 9:01 am

    […] [Source: WpSnipp] […]

  6. Trieuquangkhanh August 3, 2011 at 6:03 am

    have HTML TAGS !

    1. I’m not sure what you mean? however HTML tags are stripped out using “strip_tags”

      1. no it isn’t. i had to add a strip_tags right before the substr() function, that worked

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